While the media focus of the March 11 Japanese earthquake and events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility has subsided, there are still dedicated and highly-skilled teams working at the site for the best possible outcome. AREVA has been an active and engaged party helping to mitigate the situation and provide solutions for Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) and the reactors at the Fukushima site.
But, this is only one part of the story.
The nuclear industry knows that we have a major responsibility to safety and must be held accountable for all activities. This includes working together to face these challenges and to find the best outcome. As the industry reexamines daily and future operations as part of our relentless pursuit of safety, we are also engaged to help the determined and highly-qualified TEPCO teams find the optimum solution.
Through the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators, (INPO) a team of industry representatives has been in the TEPCO offices since March acting as an impartial observer and providing their expertise in resolving these challenging circumstances. As part of this team, AREVA has provided at least one technical expert to be part of this team on a continuous basis.
The INPO role is to share advice and help examine the situation as TEPCO works to resolve various challenges. While the role and capacity of the INPO team has only been advisory, it functions as an important sounding board for TEPCO experts who consult with the team on a near daily basis. Building these relationships has taken time, but now there is a very good working partnership and forum to exchange and discuss. The multiple challenges they face at the site are unprecedented in the industry. The objective is to provide lessons learned from the U.S. industry’s experience and to provide a collaborative approach to finding answers.
The team itself is a testament to the nuclear industry and its dedication to always to better. At any given time, there have been eight to 10 voluntary representatives in Tokyo from major industry players, some of which are competitors. Most of these experts have over three decades of industry experience and had a role in the support for Three-Mile Island. These volunteers have spent weeks, and for some of them months, of their time working together and sharing their expertise. We know that two heads are better than one, and it is the solution that matters.
More information on INPO an independent, not-for-profit corporation created by the nuclear energy industry to promote the highest standards of safety and reliability in the operation of commercial nuclear power plants on their website.